Commentary

Another voice in Greenville condemns efforts to censor anthem protests of ECU band members

ecu-bandAs noted here and here last week, there have been some reprehensible reactions to the recent decision of several East Carolina University marching band members to “take a knee” during the playing of the national anthem. Perhaps the most ridiculous was Governor McCrory’s late week decision to pile on and to claim that band members somehow surrender their rights to free speech when they don their uniforms.

Happily, other sane voices are also speaking out. The following statement issued by the ECU School of Social Work issued the following “Resolution in Support of the East Carolina University Marching Band’s Exercise of Free Speech and Expression”:

“Whereas, the United States Constitution grants individuals the right of free expression;

Whereas, According to the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics (1996), ‘Social workers should act to engage in social and political actions that seeks to prevent and eliminate domination of, exploitation of, and discrimination against any person, group, or class on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical disability.’

Whereas, the mission of The School of Social Work at East Carolina University includes  preparing professional social work practitioners who recognize the importance of human relationships by valuing difference, sustaining dignity, and fostering self-worth; provide ethical and effective social work services to individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities; engage with stakeholders and colleagues in the development of practices that reduce marginalization and oppression and solve problems; collaborate with stakeholders, colleagues, community members, and organizations to enhance overall health, wellness, and quality of life; and, Advocate for social and economic justice,

Whereas, The School at Social Work of East Carolina University asserts that learning takes place in a student-centered environment, which promotes the success of all students, including first generation, non-traditional, military, minority scholars, and caregivers of children and older adults,

Whereas, The School of Social Work at East Carolina University contributes to the development and dissemination of knowledge and develops tomorrow’s leaders by preparing graduates with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to inspire positive change and to succeed in a global, multicultural society,

Whereas, The School of Social Work at East Carolina University is dedicated to fostering the free, safe, and open exchange of ideas,

Whereas, The School of Social Work at East Carolina University supports the right of the members of the ECU Marching band as well as all other members of the university community to engage in peaceful and non-violent protest, in whatever manner they choose; and

Whereas, The School of Social Work at East Carolina University strongly condemns any attempt on the part of university officials to prevent members of the ECU Marching Band, as well as any other members of the ECU student community, from exercising their constitutional guaranteed right of freedom of expression in a peaceful, non-violent manner.

Be it resolved that The School at Social Work of East Carolina University calls upon the Chancellor of East Carolina University to counteract any such statements by university officials by affirming the students’ right to freedom of expression; and

Be it further resolved that The School of Social Work at East Carolina University urges the Chancellor to condemn publicly any acts of violence or hate speech directed at the members of the ECU Marching Band, or any other members of the ECU community, in response to peaceful, non-violent protests.

-The School of Social Work at East Carolina University”

Would that McCrory and the other confused individuals attacking the protesting band members were half as insightful and eloquent.

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